Echo House faces code board today

Historic City News has learned that Carlotta Miles and her husband Tony will be on hand today at 3:00 p.m. as the Code Enforcement Board hears staff testimony that Lincolnville’s historic Echo House is an unsafe structure.

Echo House, built by Buckingham Smith as a nursing home for blacks, is part of an historic triad including the former Excelsior School, renovated by our county and used today as a cultural center and county offices, and St. Benedict School, a restoration work in progress through a civic non-profit committee.

City Attorney Ron Brown clarified to commissioners Monday that the city sold the property to a non-profit board of trustees headed by Mrs. Gordon-Mills in 1973, but has a reverter interest if it fails to use the property for non-profit or charitable purposes.

Carlotta Miles, who is heir to Rosalie Gordon-Mills, spoke before Lincolnville’s St. Cyprian’s Episcopal congregation Sunday, noting efforts that have been made to secure the structure over the years — while seeking funding for its repair.

Commissioner Don Crichlow recused himself from any commission discussions because he has been employed by the Echo House board as an architect.

Brown noted that if there are any appeals of the Code Enforcement Board’s decision, they will go directly to circuit court.

City Manager Bill Harriss assured commissioners that, while the code board supersedes the Historic Architectural Review Board, any decision to demolish the structure would likely be vetted through HARB.

The board meets in the Alcazar Room at City Hall.


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